I recently spoke with journalist Antonio Gaspari of the the Zenit news agency about Caritas in Veritate. Here’s the interview that Zenit published:
Kishore Jayabalan: Development Involves “Breathing Space”
ROME, JULY 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- An Acton Institute director is explaining the importance of “Caritas in Veritate” for India and China, and is pointing out the innovative ideas of Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical.
Kishore Jayabalan is the director of the Acton Institute’s Rome office. He is a former analyst for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, where he dealt with environmental and disarmament issues and served as a desk officer for English-speaking countries.
In this interview with ZENIT, he spoke about Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, which was released to the public Tuesday.
ZENIT: What is your overall opinion of the encyclical “Caritas in Veritate?”
Jayabalan: My very first reaction was that it is long and not an easy document to read quickly and summarize. But as I have been reading and re-reading it, I am starting to appreciate its vast scope and significance.
The moral and ethical basis for the market economy is very often neglected.
Even its supporters tend to make utilitarian arguments in favor of the market, while opponents tend to blame the free exchange of goods and services for all kinds of cultural phenomena which have little to do with economics itself.
When things are going well and everyone is making money, no one wants to hear about greed and materialism. But once the bubble bursts, everyone seems to become a moralist and a prophet with amazing hindsight.
This is what Benedict has referred to in other places as “cheap moralism,” one which takes no account of the technical workings of the economy but reminds us of the need to make ethics more integral to our everyday lives. So in this encyclical, the pope realizes it makes no sense to issue condemnations that a child can make. (more…)